AWFJ Women On Film – “A Perfect Getaway” – Susan Granger reviews

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This suspense thriller begins with a promising premise but soon disintegrates into a preposterous predator/prey tale filled with brutality, bloodshed and butchery.

Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are honeymooners who arrive on Kauai, Hawaii’s “garden island,” known for its lush tropical greenery, striking waterfalls and pristine, sparkling beaches, looking not only for adventure but also “something to remember.” After spending $475.95 on camping supplies, they decide to hike five miles through the rain forest, following a narrow path to a strip of remote beach that’s accessible only on foot or by kayak. En route, they’re accosted by two hitchhikers, hostile Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and his flaky gal-pal Cleo (Marley Shelton). Then they meet up with Nick (Timothy Olyphant), an Iraq War vet suffering from testosterone-overload, bragging, “I’m a goddamn American Jedi,” and, subsequently, his companion, Gina (Kiele Sanchez).

“We’re newlyweds,” Cydney burbles. “We’re not,” Gina responds curtly.

So there are three couples, perhaps more, darting about on the secluded trail, plus some kayakers who unexpectedly arrive on the scene.

Complications ensue when they discover that there’s a pair of homicidal maniacs on the loose who recently stalked, murdered and dismembered honeymooners on Oahu and are believed to be in the Kauai vicinity. Unsure whether to turn back or stay, tension builds as the three couples harbor sinister suspicions about one another, particularly when Nick kills a mountain goat for dinner and Gina expertly disembowels it. Soon it becomes clear that their survival is at stake.

Since Cliff reveals that he’s a Hollywood screenwriter, Nick relentlessly gives him tips on building suspense, like, “introducing red snappers,” alluding to what’s known in the business as ‘red herrings’ or characters that are introduced to throw people off. That’s a device that writer/director David Twohy (“Chronicles of Riddick”/”Pitch Black”) relishes because he dishes out enough ‘red herrings’ to stock a Scandinavian smorgasbord.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “A Perfect Getaway” is a flawed 4. It’s a horrifying trip you may not want to take.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.